The ISD 318 School Board met Monday evening, hours after the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of Cohasset Elementary. By the end of this week, construction will be under way at all three ISD 318 sites: the east, west, and Cohasset elementary schools.

Kent Koerbitz, program manager, and Sean Lewis, senior project manager with ICS Consulting, the construction management company contracted by the school district, updated the board on progress.

“This is a big milestone,” said Lewis on the start of construction at all three sites.

Lewis said that so far, they have signed 62 contracts with more than 40 contractors split over the three sites. The project remains on budget and on schedule for all three sites to be completed by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Lewis was asked whether the playground equipment at Cohasset Elementary would remain during construction for local families. He clarified that of the two playgrounds, one will be closed due to its position in the middle of the construction site. The other playground will remain open throughout the summer.

Also related to the Cohasset construction, the board approved the controlled burn of a school district-owned house east of Cohasset elementary to make room for school expansion. The controlled burn by the City of Cohasset Fire Department is scheduled for Thursday evening.

ICS will be having meetings with contractors throughout the week to create a collaborative schedule for work. The company will also keep the board updated as the projects continue.

In other business:

• Brandon Trboyevich, technological coordinator and head of the Esports team at the Greenway and Grand Rapids high schools, presented about what the club does and the opportunities it provides. The team just finished their first year of competition in the High School Esports League, a national league of high school teams that compete in videogaming. Thirteen students in grades 9-12 competed on last year’s team, and more are expected to be interested this year.

“They’re doing this (playing video games) whether they’re in school or not. They like to play here with their friends,” said Trboyevich.

• Board member Tom Peltier commented that the club probably attracts students that are not involved in many other activities in school. Trboyevich responded while they do get students involved socially that otherwise would be at home, it also has participants from other activities at the high school, such as the Greenway hockey team.

• Heard public input from Dr. Jeremy Carlson, a physician at Grand Itasca, who stressed the importance of physical education in schools. He said that it is important to establish exercise habits at a young age to improve both physical and mental health. Carlson commended on the board for their work with this in the past, and asked the board to continue to find innovative ways to prioritize their students physical health.

• Approved a Resolution for school calendar adjustment for the 2018-2019 school year, adjusting for snow and cold weather days.

• Approved a Consent Agenda with the replacement hires of eight special education teacher positions, as well as the resignation of ESP Nurse Lisa Grossman.

• Approved Food and Nutrition meal price increase from $1.75 to $1.85. The last increase was from $1.70 to $1.75 in 2016-2017. According to Superintendent Joni Olson, this new ten cent hike is compared to the 46 cent increase recommended by the federal government. Olson said the district is continuing its commitment to make lunch affordable for local families.

• Approved tile replacements for both the pool deck in RJEMS Middle School and in the wrestling shower room in Grand Rapids High School. Olson said the current tiles are “of serious health and safety concern.”

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